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Filed 06/24/2006 Updated after 4PM for next day...
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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News 

  • Vandalism at Anniston High hampering clean-up
  • Calhoun County seeking grant for Juvenile Drug Court
  • Talladega D A Getting tough on Gambling
  • Etowah County to put a Bear in the Air


Vandalism at Anniston High hampering clean-up 

A company performing cleanup operations from last months fire at Anniston High School says their work is being set back by continuing vandalism at the school.  Officials say that vandals hit the school earlier this week which officials say has undone some of the work done by cleanup crews.  Servpro was awarded a contract for just under a half million dollars to perform the first phase of the cleanup which is expected to be completed this Saturday.  Contractors now say that because of the vandalism, they are not totally sure they can have the work completed before the start of school.  The school system did get an offer of assistance Thursday from Jacksonville State University.  The university has offered to lease video equipment and some 50 computers to the school system to allow them to re-establish the computer lab at the school.  JSU President Bill Meehan in a statement said that the university will assist the school with equipment and provide personnel assistance in computer technology and library science.  Meehan said that the university will do everything within its means to help the school system.


Calhoun County seeking grant for Juvenile Drug Court 

Calhoun County Commissioners Thursday voted to apply for a grant which would allow the counties Juvenile Drug Court to continue its work.  The $55,418 grant will require some $6,157 in matching funds from the Calhoun County Family Court.  Commissioners Thursday also voted to give ten thousand dollars to the Salvation Army to provide services to indigent residents in the county.  Those services include providing food, medical and dental care as well as temporary shelter.  Commissioner will hold a special meeting on July 3rd to approve a sales tax holiday resolution for Calhoun County.



Talladega D A getting tough on gambling 

Talladega County Sheriff’s deputies fanned out across the county this week to put convenience store owners on notice to remove all gambling machines within a week, according to Chief Deputy Jimmy Kilgore.   Kilgore said they were directed by the District Attorneys Office to go look for the machines and tell the owners they have seven days to get rid of them. According to District Attorney Steve Giddens, gambling devices have begun to make a comeback in Talladega County recently, in spite of the fact the law regarding such devices has not changed.   The most common new devices are “quarter pushers,” which contain a large pile of quarters and other small prizes that are pushed closer and closer to a ledge inside the machine by a small arm or arms. The player puts a quarter into the machine and the arm moves for a set period of time. The player wins anything that drops over the ledge.   After the seven-day grace period, the machines must be removed completely, Giddens said.   In addition to the quarter pushers, agents will also be looking for any other obvious gambling equipment or paraphernalia at local shops.

Giddens said last week that he had been approached by several people about the devices, saying that businesses in Jefferson and Calhoun counties have installed them recently. Giddens said if you want to operate these things, then go to Jefferson or Calhoun County. These things are illegal until the Legislature or the state Supreme Court says differently.  Possession of gambling devices is a class a misdemeanor in Alabama, punishable upon conviction by up to 12 months in the county jail.


Etowah County to put a Bear in the Air 

The Etowah County Sheriff's Department has a new tool in fighting crime

It is a 1969 U.S. Army helicopter used for training at Fort Rucker until about a month ago.  Through a program sponsored by the U.S. government, law enforcement agencies can apply for the surplus helicopters and it doesn't cost anything. However, there will be some cost for upgrading the helicopter and getting it outfitted to suit the needs of the Sheriff's Department, according to Sheriff James Hayes. He said a grant will be applied for to make those upgrades, the sheriff's discretionary funds will be used for anything a grant does not cover.  One of its biggest uses will be for search and rescue, The department already participates in the Project Lifesaver program for patients with Alzheimer's and the tracking equipment for the program is more easily used from a helicopter. In Project Lifesaver, residents register with the Sheriff's Department and the patient wears a bracelet equipped with a tracking device all the time.  The helicopter eventually will be equipped with a heat-sensing device, which will assist in finding lost children or someone who is hiding from law enforcement.  The Sheriff's Department now is one of only a handful of departments in the state to have one of the state surplus helicopters.  The Sheriff's Department contracted with a helicopter pilot to fly the aircraft to Gadsden, where it will be stored in a hangar at the Northeast Alabama Regional Airport.

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